Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 8, 2021

Jill Barber (pictured) will live-stream on Valentine’s Day, Rhye is inspired by California, and Crowbar classic Bad Manors turns 50. Others in the headlines include The Weeknd, Vivian Barclay, Stephen Hamm, Kayla Diamond, Rob Baker, Hipgnosis, Triller, Marilyn Manson, Sparks, Morgan Wallen, Queen Latifah, Carole King, Tom Moulton, Steve Lillywhite, Dave Grohl, Sia, Brian Eno, Bob Marley, and The Flying Burrito Brothers.

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 8, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Jill Barber streams live from the Cultch on Valentine's Day

The National Arts Centre will present a Valentine's Day concert by the Vancouver-based singer-songwriter. "Jill Barber invites you to make an occasion out of staying home," reads the event info on the Cultch website. Expect her best-loved torch songs, moody heartbreak ballads, steamy love songs and classic french tunes. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

Rhye makes himself at home in California

When the world locked down last March, the new Topanga digs of Mike Milosh became a hive of creativity for his A-list quarantine bubble. “I’m not letting the pandemic slow me down,” says Milosh, a classically trained cellist. “Art is the only saviour right now.” – Laura Robinson, NEXT


Christopher Plummer shone on stage and screen in the shadow of Sound of Music

Being a bon viveur, a witty raconteur, an Oscar-winning actor and a celebrated Canadian were some of Plummer’s favourite things – but the success of one of his least-loved parts took him a lifetime to get used to. – Elizabeth Renzetti, The Globe and Mail

50 years of Bad Manors

A little boogie-woogie, buckets of blues, and heaps of rock ‘n’ roll. That’s Crowbar. Frank Davies, owner of Daffodil Records, the label that released three LPs by these musical miscreants from Hamilton in the early 1970s, knows this cast of characters better than most. He introduces us to the band behind Bad Manors, Crowbar’s debut, which turns 50 in 2021. – David McPherson, Amplify

The Weeknd was the first Canadian to perform in Super Bowl's halftime show in two decades

The Toronto born singer and songwriter performed during the Super Bowl's halftime show. He was the first Canadian to do so in almost two decades, since Shania Twain opened with Man, I Feel Like a Woman, in 2003. – Zeenya Shah, National Post

Profile: Vivian Barclay

As the only Black General Manager working in music in Canada, Barclay, General Manager of Warner Chappell Music Canada,  has met with her fair share of challenges, but she has never wavered. – Erin Lowers, CMRRA

Toronto’s music community mourns SOPHIE

Tributes are pouring out online for the late pop musician – and Club Quarantine threw a SOPHIE celebration on Saturday. – Richard Trapunski, NOW


Calgary Arts Development  to help non-profit arts orgs to wind down

It was a staggering survey result: Last May, Calgary Arts Development went to the city’s non-profit arts organizations with a questionnaire, trying to get a handle on the impact of Covid. Of the 140 that responded, nearly half – 48 per cent – said they were going to run out of cash by the end of the calendar year. – Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail

The Weeknd promised to put on a ‘PG’ Super Bowl halftime show

During a Thursday morning news conference held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. — the site of Sunday’s Super Bowl LV  and the performance The Weeknd  headlined midway through the big game — the multiple Grammy and Juno Award winner promised to deliver a clean show. “I definitely want to be respectful to the viewers at home,” Tesfaye said during the 15-minute virtual conference. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Review: Yawn, is it Monday yet? The Weeknd bores at halftime

His name is The Weeknd but his Super Bowl performance felt like a dreary Monday morning. The Canadian pop star headlined the Super Bowl halftime show, running through his many hits like an Olympic relay track team aiming for the gold. But he wasn’t victorious Sunday night — no silver or bronze medals will be handed out here. – Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press


The Weeknd does Canada proud in Super Bowl halftime spectacle

Touchdown! True to his word, Scarborough R&B superstar The Weeknd delivered a Super Bowl LV spectacle during the halftime show at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday night. –  Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

NOW’s favourite Toronto music of February 2021

Check out some of our favourite new releases, including a Black History covers compilation, Luna Li's new Jams EP and much more. – Richard Trapunski and Kelsey Adams, NOW

On Our Radar: Stephen Hamm gives us something to believe in with a golden "Listen to the Sound of the Sun"

As you sit and think about the unanswerable, listen and be wowed. And thank God that, during this particularly difficult period in human history, Hamm and ace Vancouver video director R.D. Cane have stepped out of the shadows, embraced the sun, and given you something to believe in. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight 


Kayla and Talia Hershon-Diamond had an Orthodox Jewish wedding their way. (Think: a live string trio playing Metallica!)

Musician Kayla Diamond started planning her proposal to her girlfriend, Talia, a week after meeting her. –  Victoria DiPlacido, Toronto Star 

This is what Toronto's Foundry site could look like if the Province doesn't tear it down

Demolition of Toronto's Dominion Foundry site has been temporarily delayed by a month, meaning there's still a chance the historic buildings could be transformed into a massive music hub.  For the last year, the International Resource Centre for Performing Arts (IRCPA) and the Corktown Residents and Business Association (CRBA) have been drawing up their own plans for 153 and 185 Eastern Avenue. – BlogTO

The best Black History Month events in Toronto

From Kuumba Fest and Toronto Black Film Festival to music and literary events, Black History Month is going virtual this year. – NOW Staff

Rob Baker talks to Global News Morning about his new Stripper’s Union record “The Undertaking”

This is The Hip’s Rob Baker’s third recording with Odds’ Craig Northey. – Global News


Hipgnosis raises another $100M, led by Morgan Stanley money

Hipgnosis Songs Fund has just boosted its acquisition war-chest with another $100 million via a share issue. MBW understands that New York-based Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc. led the investment round, with the remainder of the raise coming from existing Hipgnosis shareholders. This is the first time Hipgnosis has welcomed a US-based institutional investor into its business. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Triller: We don't need UMG to run our business

We recently broke the news that Universal Music Group is pulling its music catalog off TikTok rival Triller. Universal accused Triller of “not valu[ing] artists”, suggesting that the platform had “shamefully withheld payments owed to our artists” and was “refus[ing] to negotiate a license going forward”. Triller fired back, declaring “Triller does not need a deal with UMG to continue operating as it has been since the relevant artists are already shareholders or partners on Triller." – Tim Ingham, MBW


Evan Rachel Wood’s allegations of abuse by Marilyn Manson reveal a blind spot in our reverence for outsider musicians

Earlier this week, the actress Evan Rachel Wood confirmed that the man she once described to a House judiciary subcommittee, while speaking in support of the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, was Brian Warner—the goth-rock musician who records as Marilyn Manson. – Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker

The Sparks Brothers review – Edgar Wright's electric portrait of the pop duo

The director’s imaginative documentary covers the often underappreciated career of Sparks in a funny and vibrant manner. – Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian

Why CBS gave Queen Latifah’s ‘The Equalizer’ reboot the post-Super Bowl time slot

CBS is hoping for a bit more luck from the gridiron this time around When CBS premieres its reboot of “The Equalizer” starring Queen Latifah following Super Bowl LV on Sunday, it will mark something the network hasn’t done in more than twenty years. – Tim Baysinger, The Wrap

Dave Grohl on the importance of being earnest, being an extrovert and more

For the past quarter-century, Dave Grohl, the guileless frontman for the Foo Fighters, has been measured by a yardstick different from most contemporary artists. No matter his successes, which includes 10 Grammys, nearly 15 million albums sold, tours grossing over $100 million, and a contact list that features all the living members of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, his is the burden of survival. –  Jonathan Dekel, Toronto Star

Sia apologises over autism depiction in her movie Music

Musician’s Golden Globe-nominated directorial debut, which stars Kate Hudson as guardian to an autistic sister, angered autism rights activists with scenes of restraint. – The Guardian


A field guide to music’s potential crypto boom

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts envision a future where artists are paid fairly, the secondary ticketing market is no longer ravaged by scalpers, and the value of digital memorabilia soars. – Samantha Hissong, Rolling Stone

Morgan Wallen is exactly what country music wanted … Now what?

The country-music industry moves notoriously slowly.  But over the past two days, country music appears to have shaken free from its sluggish state, at least temporarily. This time, for perhaps the first time, the industry is moving swiftly and, notably, in unison. The catalyst was, of course, Morgan Wallen’s N-word heard round Nashville. – Andrea Williams, Vulture

What’s next for Morgan Wallen? The country music industry considers his future… and its own

Country music executives tell Variety what they think it might take for Morgan Wallen to return from his sudden banishment after a racial slur... and how the entire genre stands to be affected by the incident and its shakeout. – Chris Willman, Variety

What does the Morgan Wallen story say about racism in Nashville?

The treatment of the disgraced star is a notable and swift shift for an industry that had, just a day before, elevated him to the very top of the Music Row pyramid. Wallen, 27, was breaking records with his “Dangerous: The Double Album,” with three consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart and 240 million streams in its first week. – LA Times

‘Tapestry’ at 50: How Carole King ‘bet on herself’ to record a singer-songwriter classic

In January 1971, Carole King — a native New Yorker recently transplanted to touchy-feely Los Angeles — entered A&M Studios on La Brea Avenue to record her first album of songs for which she’d written both music and lyrics. – Mikael Wood, LA Times

Disco pioneer Tom Moulton: 'People thought I was from another planet!'

He invented the 12 in single and introduced Grace Jones to the world – and at 80 years old is busy pumping out new remixes from quarantine. – Jazz Monroe, The Guardian

Live music is returning to New Orleans, but with heavy restrictions in place for Covid guidelines

The new guidelines for New Orleans limit audiences to ten people inside, 25 outside. That’s with no singing or dancing, and all patrons must be seated and masked. No singers or wind-blown instruments can be used inside. Any violations of these guidelines can result in venue permits being revoked. – Digital Music News

Legendary record producer Steve Lillywhite reveals the ten punk toons that mean the most to him

Steve Lillywhite CBE is a six-time Grammy-winning Producer. He has been credited on over five hundred records, and having worked with musicians including U2, The Rolling Stones, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Killers, and more. Today he has the hardest job of his career as he chooses his top ten punk songs. – Punktuation

Artists like me are being censored in Germany – because we support Palestinian rights

A 2019 parliamentary resolution has had a chilling effect on critics of Israeli policy. Now the cultural sector is speaking up. – Brian Eno, The Guardian

My afternoon with Bob Marley

Revisiting my interview with the superstar just a few months before his death. – Nelson George, Level

How The Flying Burrito Brothers hit the jackpot with ‘The Gilded Palace Of Sin’

With their debut, ‘The Gilded Palace Of Sin,’ The Flying Burrito Brothers almost singlehandedly created country-rock, laying the groundwork for Americana. – Martin Chilton, UDiscovermusic




The Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Beyoncé Country Hit A Win For Canadian Songwriters

Also in this week's roundup of industry news: Kayla Diamond launches her own boutique imprint, SOCAN names an ombudsman, and time's running out for noms for this year's Rosalie Award honouring trailblazing women in broadcasting.

Beyoncé becomes the first Black woman to top Billboard’s Country Songs chart with “Texas Hold ‘Em” and it has gone to No. 1 on iTunes in 14 different countries and counting. There are some surprising connections. The song is co-written and co-produced by Ontario-born writer/producer Nathan Ferraro, whose previous collaborations include working with Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bear Mountain, RALPH, Shawn Hook, Alyssa Reid, Jessie Reyez, Lowell and Tyler Shaw.

In fact, the song has deep Canadian origins. Two other Canadian songwriters participated in this runaway hit: Megan Bülow (who records and performs as bülow) as and Elizabeth "Lowell" Boland (a.k.a. Lowell), with Ferraro co-producing the track with Killah B and Beyoncé.

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